All England: Doubles Thrillers on the Cards

The 110th edition of the YONEX All England will begin today at Arena Birmingham. Here are some first round doubles matches that are likely to be close:

Kim Astrup/Anders Skaarup Rasmussen vs Lu Ching Yao/Yang Po Han

The Danes are coming to the All England after winning the Barcelona Spain Masters. They have a 3-1 record over the Chinese Taipei pair, but every match has been close – their most memorable contest being at the Hong Kong Open 2018, when the Danes won 28-26 21-19 21-16.

Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi (right) of Japan.

Choi Solgyu/Seo Seung Jae vs Takuro Hoki/Yugo Kobayashi

Koreans Choi and Seo finished last season strongly, winning the Hong Kong Open, but have had a quiet start this year. Their Japanese opponents have stayed under the radar following a runners-up finish at the World Championships. The record between the two is 1-1, and given that they are evenly matched, they could be involved in a tight contest at the All England.

Di Zi Jian/Wang Chang vs Marcus Ellis/Chris Langridge

The local favourites will be up against the former world junior champions. The two matches between them have both gone the distance – Ellis/Langridge won the first and Di/Wang the second. The England duo have the home advantage, but they will be up against one of the fastest-rising pairs in the game.

Gabriela (left) and Stefani Stoeva.

Chen Qing Chen/Jia Yi Fan vs Gabriela Stoeva/Stefani Stoeva

The world No.1 Chinese pair had a brilliant 2019, and it was at the All England that they reasserted themselves after below-par performances the previous year. They will be expected to cruise past the Stoevas, but the Bulgarians are a feisty pair and can be tough to beat on their day. For inspiration, they can look back at their three-game defeat of the Chinese at the Victor China Open 2018.

Chang Ye Na/Kim Hye Rin vs Greysia Polii/Apriyani Rahayu

The Koreans lead 2-1, but all three matches have been close. Their last clash was in the quarterfinals of the Malaysia Masters, which the Indonesians won 21-19 21-19. Featuring a combination of youth and experience on both sides, another interesting encounter might unfold.

Yuki Fukushima (left) and Sayaka Hirota.

 Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota vs Liu Xuan Xuan/Xia Yu Ting

The world No.3 Japanese pair haven’t had a good start to the year, and while they won their only match against the 2018 world junior champions at the Indonesia Open last year, Liu and Xia have risen to No.16 in quick time and could prove to be a handful.

Chloe Birch/Lauren Smith vs Linda Efler/Isabel Herttrich

The England duo are favourites, given home courts and a 3-0 record, but the Germans ran them close, 24-22 21-19, at their last encounter, in the semifinals of the SaarLorLux Open.

Goh Soon Huat and Shevon Jemie Lai.

Seo Seung Jae/Chae Yujung vs Goh Soon Huat/Shevon Lai Jemie

Their last clash, in the quarterfinals of the Gwangju Korea Masters, was a cracker, finishing with Malaysians Goh/Lai winning 26-24 in the third. The Malaysians have enjoyed a good run over the last few months, while Seo/Chae will look to rediscover the form that saw them win the German Open and make three successive semifinals in 2019.

Hafiz Faizal/Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja vs Chris Adcock/Gabrielle Adcock

Runners-up at the Thailand Masters and semifinalists at the Malaysia Masters, Faizal and Widjaja have been in good touch this year and have a 2-1 record over the England duo. The Adcocks on the other hand have struggled to find consistency, but given home conditions and their abilities, they might just be able to come good this week.

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